Even though it seemed that the world tried to forget them, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been determined to remind everyone that they are action stars. Sure, The Expendables series is a throwback to those crazy action movies from the ‘80s, but the past few years they’ve just brought back the entire genre that they started. Escape Plan wants to be an ‘80s action thriller with the sensibilities of the modern action movie and the stars of yesterday. Private military corporations, super secret private prisons, evil companies and rich people in general, sounds like a dumb action movie to me.
Ray Breslin is a professional escape artist who has made a living being inserted into prisons and escaping to evaluate their integrity. Just after finishing his latest job, Breslin is met by a CIA agent who promises him more money than any other job he’s ever done to test a top secret secure facility that is completely off the grid. He’ll just have to forgo the usual outside contact, research and planning that goes into these job. Since it’s the premise of the movie, he accepts and is quickly kidnapped and actually thrown into this super-prison.
It’s not just Stallone and Schwarzenegger that get to grace the screen with their presence, we’re also treated to such notable names as Holly from The Office (Amy Ryan), Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, Vinny Jones and Sam Neill. While all great in their own right, none of them other than Vinny Jones really add anything to the movie. I’m not really sure why 50 Cent is there either, especially since he isn’t really in any of the marketing. I never thought I would see the day when Two aging action stars get higher billing than 50 Cent.
I did find it interesting that the guards of this super-prison all wore identical masks to dehumanize them into a brutal force that only existed to make the prisoner’s lives hell, that is, just until the big climactic action scene where all the guards removed their masks to shoot prisoners. Maybe it was so you could see the horrified looks in their eyes when Sly and Arnold killed them. I don’t know, movies. At least that last action scene was pretty awesome, thanks to the always excellent Vinnie Jones playing the role he was born to play.
Escape Plan is a movie that isn’t entirely sure of what it wants to be. At times it tries to be so much smarter than its script can possibly be, but then it completely revels in its dumb action movie tropes and is better for it. While it did give Stallone and Schwarzenegger a very brief window to show range outside of the macho action hero, it was still with the same weak dialog. In the end, what we’re left with is a fun, yet entirely forgettable action movie that is just as easily watchable on cable in the middle of the afternoon than in the movie theater.
In Theaters: October 11, 2013
Runtime: 116 min
Rating: Rated R For violence and language throughout
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Amy Ryan, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Vinnie Jones
Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Distributor: Escape Plan
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/EscapePlanMovie